Fashion director KIM BUI KOLLAR discovers the magic of Biologique Recherche’s new skincare programme
LET ME BEGIN by saying that I’m not a beauty editor. I am, however, a woman who cares very much about her skin and will try everything on the quest for that elusive glow. I need to also preface this by stating that though I have spent a fortune (I hope my husband isn’t reading this!) on this journey, I’ve never believed in “programmes”. To me, they were just a way for brands to sell me more product from the line. Maybe it’s because I never found something that delivered on its promises, or perhaps the science of the particular product wasn’t right for my skin.
Why, then, is the fashion director writing about skincare? Because this one is amazing – and I thought I would share. My mind was recently changed – by Biologique Recherche.
For those who really take their skin seriously, Biologique Recherche has a new Haute Couture programme. Imagine that amazing feeling that comes with couture fashion, but in skincare. A bit of history: the brand was started by Yvan and Josette Allouche (a biologist and physiotherapist, respectively) 40 years ago as a laboratory for research and development. Their son, Dr Philippe Allouche, took an additional interest in skin health, and has helped to make the programme relevant for today’s needs and lifestyles. He sees the skin as an organ that is connected to our other organs and our overall health.
The brand’s philosophy fundamentals are:
1) A person does not have only one, but several skins. Our skin, and the different areas of our skin, changes all the time – due to climate, pollutants, travel, stress, age and hormones. The idea of categorising our dermis as “normal, dry or oily” doesn’t give a truly accurate read of our skin’s properties and current state. When the skin isn’t analysed correctly, treatment can lead to problems that didn’t exist before.
Each person that comes in for a visitation gets a full evaluation in order to get the most appropriate products for their skin. There’s a special machine that measures the skin’s hydration and sebum ratios, trans-epidermal water loss, elasticity, firmness, melanin ratio and the depth of wrinkles (by taking silicon prints). All of these factors are tested on different parts of the face. These are all very technical aspects to skin that certainly aren’t considered over the counter at a department store.
2) “Initiating” the skin is crucial. This is where the epidermis is totally cleansed, its pH is balanced, it’s gently exfoliated and its proteolipidic film is removed. This is where the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is introduced. The cleansers are great, but P50 is in a class of its own. A balancing exfoliator with a vinegar-like scent, it speeds up the natural exfoliation process of the epidermis and the reconstruction of the epidermal shield. This basically makes the skin ready to accept help, treatment and care. (Insert the “hallelujah” emoji here.) 3) “Balance, hydrate, revitalise” – it’s all part of the treatment phase. There is a range of serums and creams that are all botanical, biological (read: placenta) and marine extracts. There’s also a magical contraption called the “remodelling face” machine, which administers bio-electrotherapy. Galvanised currents are run along the contours of the face to help the ingredients migrate through the cells and “exercise” the face. There’s a slight taste of metal when this treatment is administered – a sign that it’s working, I hope.
Specific to the Haute Couture programme, an objective analysis is made by Dr Philippe Allouche in his lab and a personalised formula of products is prescribed for six-month usage. Each month, a pack of two creams and three to eight serums is prepared. The first month focuses on skin balancing, while the second month is where the personalised formulas start to get used with gentle application. Months three to five are where a stronger formula is implemented to get the optimal skin radiance goal. And month six is to stabilise and maintain skin utopia. The skin is monitored monthly or bimonthly.
I tried to probe, but wasn’t able to get much of a reveal in terms of the main ingredients of the products. This skincare programme doesn’t smell the nicest – which to me implies pure science and that it isn’t masked by artificial scents. All I know is that I was a smoker (I hope my mom isn’t reading this!) and one who loves the sun, and when I gave into the “programme” a year ago, the quality of my skin was noticeably different. There was a consistency to the texture and the little lines disappeared from the true hydration. I haven’t been aggressive in wanting to even out my sun spots, but I suppose that’s what the haute couture programme is for.
And great news: there’s no need to travel all the way to Paris for Biologique Recherche treatments. The Hong Kong flagship is located in Tsim Sha Tsui; the Four Seasons Spa is also trained to use the brand’s products.